First and foremost, I'd like to deeply thank Al, Josh, and Erik for filling in for me on Cub Tracks while I was out last week enjoying a fun-filled adventure in Texas with my daughters. That's one of the things I like most about the crew here; if anyone's ever away for a particular reason, the other guys are always willing to help out, and I truly appreciate that.
Now whichever one of you took my red Swingline stapler, I'd like it back, please.
From Comcast SportsNet Chicago:
- Jake Arrieta on the Cubs' upcoming schedule: "There are teams we're supposed to beat and we need to beat them."
- What does Joe Maddon have Addison Russell focusing on when the game's over? Reading a Stephen King book. Or in this case listening to one.
- Kyle Hendricks may not go deep in as many starts as other Cub pitchers, but that's somewhat by design from Maddon, whose goal for Hendricks is to "keep him spiffy in September." That's soon to be followed by ostentatious in October.
- In "the other Kyle" news, there are no current plans to get Kyle Schwarber in the lineup more by having him play in the outfield.
- Despite a couple of tough outings, Maddon still has plenty of confidence in Pedro Strop.
- Can Jake Arrieta pitch better than he already is? He certainly believes so.
- Christian Villanueva was named to the MLB Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week for July 13-19 with four consecutive two-hit games.
- There may have been a discovery to the heroics from Jonathan Herrera: Just give him a helmet that has something wrong with it.
- Starlin Castro on the second half of the season: "You'll see the real me in the second half." Which begs the question: How did everyone go 87 games without noticing that it was a fake Castro? I mean, that's one heck of a doppleganger he has.
From ESPN Chicago:
- Jesse Rogers looks at the current trade deadline landscape for the Cubs.
- Rogers also looks back at the Cub life and times of Edwin Jackson.
- The Cubs' hitting troubles aren't coming from chasing pitches outside of the zone; instead, they're coming from not enough success from within the zone.
- [AUDIO] Jon Lester talks about his unusual no-hit bid on Saturday.
- From the world of contrived statistics, a set of MLB Fan Power Rankings have been generated and... well, the results are just confusing. Well, not necessarily confusing. Just not all that meaningful. But they'll generate quite a few clicks, I'm sure.
From CBS Chicago:
- The Cubs were reportedly one of five teams scouting Cole Hamels on Sunday, according to Jon Heyman.
- Triple-A Iowa manager Marty Pevey is expecting Javier Baez to return in about three weeks. Baez has been sidelined since June 7 with a fractured ring finger on his left hand.
- Mark Grote recently sat down for a Q & A session with John Smoltz to talk about the Cubs and the National League.
- Dan Bernstein agrees with Jake Arrieta's feelings on the soft schedule over the next couple of weeks, saying that it's time for the Cubs to get fat on cupcakes.
- This week's "Behind the Plate" catches up with 88-year-old Charlie Greenstein, who recalls the players that he saw at Wrigley Field in the 1938 World Series.
From the Chicago Tribune:
- One of the things that Kyle Schwarber likes the most about being with the big club is that the rookies aren't treated like rookies.
- David Haugh makes a case for acquiring Jonathan Papelbon, saying that shoring up the bullpen makes more sense than adding another starting pitcher or another bat.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
- In "the other Baez" news, Jeffrey Baez was named the Midwest League Player of the Week after going 14-for-26 last week with the South Bend Cubs.
- Not only was Christian Villanueva part of the Prospect Team of the Week, he was also named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week.
- Who's the top selling player in baseball merchandise? That would be Kris Bryant.
- If you're a young Cubs fan and you're doing the Tomahawk Chop in Atlanta, just don't let your mom catch you.
From the Daily Herald:
- Connor McKnight expects the Cubs to land a pitcher before the deadline, but he's not expecting a huge splash deal in the process.
From Cubs Den:
- John Arguello makes the case Cole Hamels being the best deal for the Cubs, but only if the price comes down.
From Bleacher Nation:
- [VIDEO] For the Gleyber Torres fans out there, here's a nifty play in the hole that he made on Sunday for South Bend.
- Luis Medina gives a detailed look at the deals made by Theo Epstein as a buyer in his past months of July. It's quite a list.
- Kyle Schwarber can hit, but will he be able to frame pitches as well as his counterparts in a playoff push?
Today's food for thought:
- What exactly is hydrogenation? And why is it in your food? And do you want it in your cupcakes? And how would Dan Bernstein feel about it?
- The United States has won the International Mathematical Olympiad for the first time in 21 years.
- It was 46 years ago that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission... and it only took 46 years for Aldrin to give the photo of the moment a proper caption. I sometimes feel that way when I'm trying to come up with a caption for the photos here.